For over two decades, designer Michael Bush and late partner Dennis Tompkins created costumes for legendary performer Michael Jackson. With many of their creations now embedded in pop culture history, Bush has authored a book highlighting his career as the man who dressed The King of Pop.
At the peak of his career, there was arguably no greater style tastemaker than Michael Jackson within the world of entertainment; years after his death, his influence on popular music and fashion remains. Costume designer Michael Bush, who, alongside late partner Dennis Tompkins, helped craft several of Jackson’s signature looks, said the star symbolized everything that was right about popular fashion.
“When you worked with him, you couldn't wait to get there and you didn't want to leave when you got done," Bush told the Associated Press. “It was hard to imagine anyone that projected fashion and style any better.”
Unlike many celebrities who readily enjoy the spoils of free designer clothing in exchange for red carpet promotion, Bush said Michael opted for a style that influenced the influential. His plan worked: Even today, stars such as Kanye West, Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga have donned outfits reminiscent of the music icon’s elaborate pieces.
Fashion house Balmain has released military-style jackets that could have been pulled straight from the late singer’s closet, with Christophe Decarnin, former designer of Balmain, noting Jackson’s style as a source of inspiration.
“Michael's concept was, ‘I want the fashion designers in the world, the big conglomerates, I want them to copy me. I don't want to wear what's out there. I want to push my individuality, and being that my music is me, my look should be me,’” Bush said.
Bush explores his work with Jackson and shares colorful photos of his legendary outfits in the new book, “The King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson.”